What is Sodium RNA?
Sodium RNA is the sodium salt of ribonucleic acid or RNA. It is a relatively new ingredient in the skincare world and it generally used to help improve the appearance of aging skin and pigmentation.
RNA is a molecule found in every cell of our bodies. RNA plays an essential role in the expression of genes. Its primary function is to act as a messenger between DNA and the rest of the cell in order to produce proteins. Without RNA, the human body would not be able to form proteins. While RNA occurs naturally in the human body, the RNA used to produce the ingredient sodium RNA for cosmetics and skincare formulations are produced from yeast.
In addition, to use in your skincare formulations, RNA has also been used in dietary formulas along with omega-3 fatty acids and arginine, an amino acid, to help reduce recovery times post-surgery. In these oral formulations, the RNA is used to support a healthy immune system’s response and improving outcomes for burn patients and intensive care patients. Furthermore, RNA had also been used by doctors to help treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, as well as hives and shingles.
the good:May help to improve the appearance of aging skin, pigmentation and may help support the healthy functioning of skin cells.
the not so good:It is a relatively new ingredient to skincare formulations. This brings into question issues of safety, efficacy, and how best to deliver sodium RNA to the skin.
Who is it for?All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it.
Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients.
Keep an eye on:Keep an eye out for more research into this ingredient.
How Does Sodium RNA Benefit the Skin?
In cosmetics and personal care products, sodium RNA functions as a anti-aging ingredient, and some studies have investigated its ability to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, sagging skin, brown spots, and cellulite.
Sodium RNA is often included in anti-aging skincare products because of its ability to improve the visible signs of aging. It is though to do this by downregulating an enzyme called elastase. Elastase is the enzyme responsible for breaking down elastin fibers or the fibers that help to give the skin its structure and firmness. WHen this enzyme is downregulated it is theorized that more elastin fibers remain in tact, giving yor skin that plumped look.
When sodium RNA is used topically such as in skincare and cosmetic formulations some studies have suggested that it may also help to reduce the appearance of melasma. Melasma is a condition in which brown patches appear on the face, particularly in response to hormonal changes such as pregnancy. Melasma is produced by the overexpression of the MITF gene, which causes excessive melanin production. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin and hair color. Sodium RNA is thought to inhibit the MITF gene, which would then suppress melanin production.
Lastly, it is thought that topical sodium RNA may be able to help reduce the appearance of cellulite. While the exact cause of cellulite is unclear, decreased microcirculation in subcutaneous adipose tissue or the circulation of blood through the fat that sits below the skin is believed to play a role in cellulite formation. RNA downregulates the expression of an enzyme called the angiotensin converting enzyme. This enzyme is responsible for the production of angiotensin II, a vasoconstrictive peptide. This peptide is responsible for reducing microcirculation. Ultimately, this improves circulation, which may help to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
How Is RNA Delivered To The Skin?
One problem with sodium RNA is that its absorption through the skin is limited by the skin’s natural barrier. This poses some difficulties in ensuring that the sodium RNA is able to penetrate deeply into the skin to help improve your skin’s appearance. This ingredient must be formulated in such a way to enhance its delivery through the skin’s barrier, such as with small proteins or peptides and liposomes.
Is Sodium RNA Safe?
Sodium RNA is a relatively new skincare ingredient and as such the data is limited. With any skincare ingredient, you need a base of scientific research to determine its effects and safety. In theory, sodium RNA should be safe for use as it is part of your body’s cells naturally. Anecdotally there isn’t any significan report of side effects but until there is more research available on this ingredient its safety is not fully understood.
Zhang, P, Chen, J, Li, T Zhu, Y, 2016. ‘Use of small RNA as antiaging cosmeceuticals’, Journal of Cosmetic Science, vol. 64, is. 6, pp. 455- 468. Ganceviciene, R, Liakou, A, Theodoridis, A, Makrantonaki, E, & Zouboulis, C, 2012. ‘Skin anti-aging strategies’, Dermato-endocrinology, vol. 4, is. 3, pp.308-319.